Panic DisorderPanic Disorder

How To Treat A Panic Disorder

People who experience frequent panic attacks can be diagnosed with a panic disorder. This condition can severely impact a person’s quality of life, as panic episodes overwhelm them at already stressful times. It can make you feel powerless, out of control and usually comes with powerful emotional reactions. This article will help give you a better understanding of what a panic disorder is, its symptoms, as well as the treatment options that are available to help treat them.

The NIH estimates that as many as 1.5 million Americans will experience panic disorders in their lifetime. Reports also suggest that women are more likely to experience this condition than their male counterparts.

The team of experts at My Psychiatrist specializes in a broad range of therapeutic solutions for people from all different backgrounds. Therapy has proven itself through decades of research and study and can help people with cognitive, neurological, and behavioral conditions as they attempt to manage and overcome their symptoms. To find out which type of therapy is best suited to your needs, schedule an initial consultation so we can create a plan designed for you!

What Is A Panic Disorder?

As mentioned previously, panic disorders involve multiple and frequent panic attacks. This person will typically be very fearful of having another panic attack, because of the physical and emotional response involved. Unfortunately, the symptoms of Panic disorders can arise with no clear trigger or warning. This makes attempting to live with this condition very challenging and harmful.

The Difference Between Panic Disorders and Anxiety

Panic disorders are not the same as anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are often developed and triggered by specific events that are known to induce anxiety and fear, along with the strong emotional responses that can lead to panic or anxiety attacks. Examples are social gatherings, attachment issues, public speaking – all very anxious moments that can trigger anxiety attacks.

A panic disorder does not require a triggering event and can happen very sporadically and unpredictably. A psychiatrist can help you assess your condition and make the appropriate determination between a diagnosis of either anxiety or panic disorder.

The Symptoms Of A Panic Attack

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hyperventilating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling faint
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Stomach aches and pain
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Fear that death is imminent

Ways To Treat A Panic Disorder


Psychotherapy is considered an effective first-choice treatment for panic disorders. Psychotherapy can help you understand why you are experiencing panic attacks and give you tools and coping mechanisms to help you manage them.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help shed light on the fact that panic does not mean you are in danger. It’s normal to experience fear and worry sometimes, but in moderation and in a more constructive way! An excellent way to overcome the sensation of panic is to recreate your symptoms in a controlled setting – right here in your therapist’s office. It turns out, being guided through panic attacks by a trained professional can help make them less frightening, less powerful, and give you the confidence to handle them on your own. The ultimate goal is enabling you to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, but have previously avoided because of your panic disorder.

Therapy is a unique experience, and as such, how quickly and effectively your response to therapeutic treatment will differ as well. General expectations are a moderate improvement within weeks and significant improvement in a matter of months.


Clinically prescribed medications are an excellent way to supplement your therapy. They are designed to reduce the severity of your symptoms and put you in a better, healthier state to cope with any panic sensations that may arise. Several types of medication have been shown to be effective in managing symptoms of panic attacks, including:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) – Generally safe with a low risk of serious side effects, SSRI antidepressants are typically recommended as the first choice of medications to treat panic attacks. (Prozac),(Paxil, Pexeva),(Zoloft).
  • Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) – another class of antidepressants. (Effexor XR)
  • Benzodiazepines – These sedatives are central nervous system depressants.(Xanax) (Klonopin). This form of medication should be considered last as they have the risk of forming addictive tendencies.

Panic Disorder Treatment Available in Falls Church and Reston, Virginia

If you or a loved one have been experiencing frequent and spontaneous panic attacks, it may qualify as a panic disorder and should be cared for immediately. Let the team of specialists at My Psychiatrist help reduce or overcome your panic attacks and allow you to get back to enjoying life will full confidence.

Call (571) 946-2189 to make an appointment or reach out to us online today!